What's New for 2002
Only minor changes are in store for Subaru's midsize Legacy sedan and wagon. GT Limiteds receive a standard All-Weather Package that includes heated front seats, heated outside mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. GT models now have larger front brakes, a new ignition switch illumination ring, standard floor mats and wood grain-patterned door switch trim. Other upgrades for all Legacys include a dome light off-delay and an internal trunk release (sedans only).
Do you live in a place where it is often cold and snowy? Do you have an entire drawer at home dedicated to "long johns?" Do you like the idea of owning a vehicle with all-wheel drive? Do you dislike the idea of owning a gas-guzzling SUV? If you've answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, Subaru has a car it'd like you to take a look at.
Subaru's midsize Legacy comes in both sedan and wagon form. It's powered by a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that makes 165 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. This engine can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. All versions of the Legacy are all-wheel drive. While the drivetrain provides more power than most other four-cylinder midsize cars, it comes up short compared to the V6s found in competitors. If you want a bigger engine, check out the Outback; it comes with a 212-hp six-cylinder.
There are three different trim levels: L, GT and GT Limited (sedan only). Subaru outfits these cars with a high level of standard equipment. L models receive items like air conditioning, antilock brakes, cruise control, power windows and locks, and a tilt steering wheel. Going with a GT earns larger 16-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, special body add-ons, a power moonroof, a power driver seat and keyless entry. For the GT Limited sedan, Subaru takes a GT sedan and adds leather seating, an upgraded audio system and side airbags.
The best reason to take a look at the Legacy is its all-wheel drive. With all four wheels receiving power, the Legacy is more stable than a two-wheel-drive car when it comes to driving on wet, snowy and icy roads. Even on dry roads, the Legacy is an entertaining car to pilot thanks to its compliant suspension and tight steering. For maximum fun, get the GT model with the five-speed manual transmission.
Inside, the Legacy offers supportive seats and a roomy cabin. With the rear seats folded down, the wagon can hold 68.6 cubic feet of cargo. Interior design is straightforward, but it lacks the upscale look and feel found in the car's European competitors. In terms of protecting occupants, the Legacy has earned a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for driver and front passenger safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the car a "good" rating for offset crash protection.
Cars like the Audi A4 and Volkswagen Passat have more prestige associated with them, and their base prices are similar to the Legacy's. But load them up with equal amenities, and their stickers go skyward. For buyers with limited fundsand a desire for a relatively upmarket AWD sedan, the Legacy immediately takes the lead.